As you research ways to grow and optimize your business, you’ll come across the term “strategic planning” quite a bit. But what is strategic planning, exactly? Strategic planning refers to a carefully crafted and supervised process (or processes) that helps you make informed decisions to grow your business and overcome obstacles. Like any competent strategy, this planning involves many moving parts that must remain flexible enough to allow for changes when necessary. Let’s break down five crucial strategic planning process steps so you can safely steer your organization in the right direction.
What Are the Five Steps in the Strategic Planning Process?
1. Understand Where You Stand
The strategic planning process begins with a thorough analysis of your organization’s current situation. If you don’t know where you stand right now, you won’t know where to go next. Determining your strategic position requires collecting good data from multiple angles. Seek detailed insights from your leadership team, receive feedback from employees and customers, and compare key performance indicators (KPIs) with those of competitors in your market. Take a look at your company’s current vision and mission statements as well. Once you’ve gathered all of this information, break it all down into four categories of interest: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). This SWOT diagram (or similar visual aid) will help clarify your standing so you can better move forward with your strategic planning.
2. Form a Coherent Vision
Now that you’ve got an aerial view of your organization’s strategic position, it’s time to develop a new vision that addresses every weak point and bolsters your existing strengths. This vision should capture a broad, general, and concise picture of what your company wishes to achieve and become. Developing this vision can help you write a mission statement as well, which lays out your business’s reason for being. Having a clear, coherent vision and mission statement in place will provide a solid bedrock for your decisions moving forward.
3. Identify the Gaps
Strategic planning is all about getting to where you want to go efficiently. Your vision provides the general direction, like a compass – without a map, however, you’ll have a hard time avoiding the obstacles that stand in your way like rocks dotting the sea. The next step in this process, then, is to identify the barriers and gaps that separate your current position from the one you’re trying to achieve. Common gaps faced by companies of all sizes include public relations, financials, market share, internal systems, communication, and so on. Conduct a thorough gap analysis by breaking down specific gaps and asking key questions that dig to the heart of the matter. If, for instance, your business isn’t meeting a specific customer demand, you might ask why you’re not positioned to meet this need and realize you haven’t devoted the proper resources to that task.
4. Get Your Goals in Order
At this point, your organization should know where it stands, where it’s headed, and how to chart a course to get there. There’s still the matter of doing the work, however. This is where proper goal-setting comes into play. Every gap you identify should be met with a specific plan (i.e. goal) that addresses the problem with precise actions and indicators that relevant parties can keep track of. These goals should have a concrete date, specific figures, and list of individuals responsible for achieving them. Each goal, no matter how small, should be in service of the larger vision and focused by your latest mission statement.
5. Execute, Analyze, Revise
As you deploy your strategic plan, you’ll soon find that many variables are out of your control, such as market forces, personnel changes, destabilizing world events, and more. In some cases, you’ll simply fail to meet certain goals. If you cling too tightly to your plans or start from scratch, you’ll likely suffer setbacks. Rather than retrace all of your steps in strategic planning thus far, it’s better to adapt accordingly. Check in on your goals at intervals to track your progress and identify any unforeseen issues that have cropped up. If necessary, adjust your goals to account for these changes and repeat this cycle. Frequent monitoring is crucial for ensuring the success of any strategic plan, even if it means the details of said plan don’t look exactly the same over time.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
In any endeavor, an outside perspective goes a long way in helping us stay on course, acknowledge our bad habits and flaws, and charge ahead with purpose. A business that lacks external guidance can quickly find itself in a rut. Having access to a strategic planning consultant can help businesses overcome their shortcomings to achieve both short-term and long-term goals.
At Leadership Resources, we deploy strategic planning consultants to help our clients reach and exceed their goals. Let’s go over six reasons why a strategic planning consultant is a great investment in your business.
The Beneifts of Strategic Planning Consultants
1. Clarify Your Vision
Moving forward is challenging when you’re unsure of which direction to go or why you’re going that way to begin with. When businesses cannot clearly create or convey a cohesive vision, it will struggle to make any progress.
Strategic planning consultants help business leaders formulate or redefine a clear vision and then work toward getting every member of the organization on the same page. Once consensus has been reached, your team can work on strategic planning, where you’ll lay out short-term and long-term goals, as well as procedures for reaching said goals.
2. Increase Employee Engagement
The people within your organization ultimately determine whether it succeeds or fails. And if your people aren’t committed, focused, or enthusiastic about their jobs or the business’s greater goals, your business will suffer. With the aid of a strategic planning consultant, your leadership staff will learn new team management methods that help unify team members around common interests and increase employee engagement as a whole.
3. Develop Leaders
A strong business relies on strong leadership. When you invest in leadership development, you’re investing in your company’s future. A strategic planning consultant provides your leadership team with guidance and access to the resources, support, and knowledge to continually develop as individuals and add value to the organization by becoming more adaptable, approachable, resilient, and team-oriented.
4. Cultivate a Healthier Workplace
You want your business to produce results and reach its goals, but not at the cost of your people’s mental and physical health. One of the greatest advantages a strategic planning consultant brings to the table is that it helps staff members and leaders strike a balance between work and the rest of life. Managing leadership stress is essential for leaders to execute their plans with clear judgment and sound instincts. A healthier workplace means that your team will be more functional and cohesive, ready to tackle any problem together.
5. Enhance Communication
Transparency is also necessary for maintaining a healthy company culture. Investing in a strategic planning consultant will provide your business with tools and advice for establishing greater communication between all parties. An open line of communication helps keep everyone engaged and on the same page. It also empowers team members to ask questions and speak their minds without fear of reprisal. Ultimately, greater communication leads to bold new ideas that can push an organization forward, improve its operations, and establish more ways to reach its goals.
6. Perform Regular Check-ins to Stay on Course
In order to stay the course, a business requires accountability at every level. This means all staff members and leaders must regularly meet their expectations and the procedures set in motion to achieve goals are proving themselves effective.
Strategic planning consultants perform regular check-in sessions to evaluate what is and isn’t working in your organization so necessary changes can be made. This may include quarterly and annual check-ins, or some other frequency that makes the most sense for the client. With these routine assessments, everyone in your organization will be more accountable for their roles and actions.
Every organization can benefit from business leadership coaching, and a strategic planning consultant significantly elevates standard business mentorship by focusing on every important aspect of your organization in detail. Leadership Resources is the premier strategic planning consultant in Omaha and Lincoln, NE. Our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.Read More
Over the past year, Leadership Resources has seen tremendous growth in its strategic planning services. To assist with this expansion, we have recently welcomed Brian Olson to our team of Strategic Growth Advisors. Utilizing a wide variety of strategic tools, Olson will work directly with organizations and their executive leadership teams to develop a clear vision and strategic plan.
Olson, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumnus, brings over 17 years of executive leadership training and business experience to Leadership Resources. Having served as the Chief Operating Officer at Pen-Link in Lincoln, Nebraska, Olson knows how to implement key practices into an organization to ensure success. Olson understands the importance of organizational alignment and is proficient at developing a strategic plan to provide clarity, direction, and focus to organizations.
About Our Custom Strategic Planning Solutions
A strategic plan is like a blueprint that outlines priorities, procedures, goals, and outcomes designed to lead an organization to both short- and long-term success. This framework only functions if members within the organization align their values and unite around a cohesive, clear vision.
As new developments occur inside and outside the company, it’s crucial to perform routine evaluations of the current plan and adjust it if necessary. Our strategic planning offerings incorporate various tools and operating systems to give leaders the resources they need to develop and maintain a plan that works for their organization.
The need to expand our strategic planning team is a testament to the value of our services. Our clients benefit from our strategic planning solutions in several ways. With a strong focus on leadership development, we help organizations refine their vision, define their direction, achieve their goals both large and small, and identify key performance indicators that they can actively track and focus on. When leadership development is properly aligned with a company’s vision, strategic direction, business goals, and personal ambitions, growth is inevitable.
What Else Can Leadership Resources Do for You?
If the growth we’ve seen in 2019 is any indication of what’s to come, Leadership Resources looks forward to expanding its reach in the near future, helping more organizations flourish. In addition to our strategic planning solutions, we also offer the Accelerate Leadership Program, an 18-month multilevel pathway that instructs upcoming and current leaders on ways to improve their leadership qualities both within their organization and outside the workplace.
The program focuses on three elements of leadership development: self-leading, true leadership development, and emotional intelligence. The education, tools, and community cultivated by the Accelerate Leadership Program are invaluable to an organization looking to improve its decision-making, employee engagement and accountability, and company culture.
We’re thrilled to bring Brian Olson on board to the Strategic Planning team, and we’re eager to see what new developments and growth opportunities await us in the year to come.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.Read More